NEW YORK -- Although it took some maneuvering at the time, former Chicago Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano agreed to a trade to the New York Yankees in part because the Cubs were rebuilding. He saw the writing on the wall and decided, at 38 years old that a move was the right thing to do.
"At my age I want to win," he said before playing the Cubs in a doubleheader on Wednesday. "I don't want to be part of the future, I want to be part of the present. It's a little weird. I played with those guys, now against those guys. It's a little weird."
What feels good to him now is being with a "win-now" organization. He understands what the Cubs are trying to do, but it was still frustrating.
"Chicago is for the future," Soriano said. "At my age I just want to be thinking about the present ... They may want to build for the future, but we have to play in the present."
That's why the Cubs tried to deal him in 2012, but he wasn't interested in a trade to the San Francisco Giants, who went on to win the World Series. That's something the Cubs weren't able to do in 2007 and 2008 when they went to the playoffs with Soriano leading the way. But he struggled in the postseason and so did the Cubs, getting swept both years.
"The first couple of years was fun," he said. "But after that I don't know what happened. The fans in the city they need a world championship. People don't realize how big they can be if they win in Chicago. From front office to owner to player. They don't know how big they can be."
He says he used to preach that to the younger Cubs.
"Let's give a little bit more everyday to get better to try and win because if we win here we can be a God in the city," Soriano said. "That's what I said to the guys but that's not what happened."
So Soriano will play out the final year of his eight-year, $136 million contract with the team he started with. Then he's not sure what will happen to him but just like in Chicago he isn't focused on the future.
"At the Yankees it's all about the present," he said. "It's about going to the World Series that year."